In a busy city life, do you have a moment when you feel like talking to someone about your life? If so, there is a place for you in Nakano, where you can talk to monks and enjoy drinks with them at night. It’s called Vow’s (Monk’s) bar.What’s Vow’s bar?A real monk runs a bar in Nakano. The pronunciation of Vows means a Buddhist monk in Japanese. These days, there are many bars like this in Kansai and Kanto area. Nakano Vow’s bar is one of the most popular monk’s bars, which people from all over Japan visit this bar. The bar is located on the second floor of World building inside the Nakano shinnakamise shopping district. The entrance of the bar definitely looks different than other bars. I can hear the sound of a temple bell. Let’s go inside.When I entered the bar, a monk welcomed me by joining his hands in prayer. He, Shaku genko-san, who is a master of the bar and a monk of Shinsyu sect Otani branch, is a gentle and good-humored person.The lanterns inside the bar create an atmosphere. The bar is a pretty relaxing place with Jazz music played quietly. There are many books, comics, and objects that are related Buddhism or used in a temple. There are also Buddha’s images, figures, and a wooden gong displayed at the bar. At Vow’s bar, many monks from different branches work together. Monks serve as bartenders on weekdays while nuns serve on weekends. Many customers from foreign countries visit the bar on weekends. It was already full of customers after an hour from the opening of the bar. Order a cocktail from a monkThey have bunch of menu of cocktails, but you should try a monk’s special drinks if you come here. All the names of drinks here come from Buddhism world. The menu book just looks like the sutras. While the master of the bar makes me Hannyatou, Buddhist priest jargon of Sake (alchohol), I opened Bi-bouze zukan, a picture book of good-looking monks. From the picture book, I learned that there are many monks that are doing various activities out side of a temple such as writing as an author, and playing music as a member of a band. That night, I ordered Ero-bouze, and Gokuraku-jyodo. Gokuraku Jyodo means the land of Perfect Bliss in Buddhist world. In Jyodo shinsyu sect, it is believed as the world after death, where there are no sufferings at all. Ero-bouze is the most popular cocktail for women at the bar. Ero means erotic or Nasty in English. The cocktail was decollated with the nasty looking teruteru bouze. Teruteru bouze is a paper doll that people make when they pray the weather to be nice, and hang them on a window or a space under the eaves. Ero-bouze ￥1300 (reference price)With the base of milk, there are flavors of melon and coconut. It is sweet and easy to drink. Gokuraku Jyodo ￥1000 (reference price)This cocktail is made with the mix of oolong tea, green tea, and angostura bitters. The three materials represent the Buddhism world of the three realms of existence. Listen to preaching at a barThe master, Shaku genko –san, knows a lot of things. He knows thoroughly well about the world history and Japanese history. He also makes everyone smile with his jokes. One of the reasons customers come to this bar is because they want to talk about their matters of lives with the master. Shaku genko-san does counseling service with teaching of Buddhism for customers while serving drinks to them.Shaku genko-san, the master of the bar, is wearing Vow’s bar’s tenth anniversary T-shirt. But usually he wears Samue, monk’s working clothes at a temple, when he is working at the bar. The way he shakes the cup of cocktail is just like a professional bartender. Shaku genko-san serves at his temple during the day and work at this bar at night. I asked why he opened this bar. “We want to spread the teaching of Buddha to as many people as possible. There are many ways of doing this. Running a bar is just one of these ways. Japan’s Buddhism is often known and practiced only at funerals and Buddhist memorial mass. But I thought I want to deal with people who are present in this world, that’s the reason I chose this job. It’s up to us, monks, how to spread Buddhism to people.”At home bar makes you want to come back againMost of the objects in this bar are offerings from customers. All the cartoon doll figures are gifted to the master, who likes to listen to cartoon songs. The master says that all these offerings should not be only his possession, so they are shared with customers at the bar. Often the master gives away these doll figures to customers. Even if you visit this bar alone, you will soon find yourself laughing and talking with the master and other customers. The master tells the customers that this place is for them to completely relax so they can come back anytime and rest well. Some customers fall asleep at the bar. In the endYou don’t have to be a Buddhism believer. This bar is open to anyone who wants to talk to the master, or even to those who just wants to experience something new in his usual life. The master’s drink and a relaxing time at the bar may give you an encouragement to the next day. ※Some information about Buddhism in this entry is quoted from the bar’s brochure. The teaching of Buddhism varies depends on different sects. InformationVow’s baraddress：World building 2F, 5-55-6 Nakano, Nakano-ku, TokyoAccess：JR Chuou line, Get off at Nakano station and walk %min from the North exit.Hours：Monday ~ Saturday 19:00~02:30 / Sunday and Holidays 18:00~23:00No Business day：Monday of the first week and the third week of a month.Language：English, French, JapaneseCall：03-3385-5530Price：For taking a visit, ￥500Religion：Any people are welcomed.HP：http://nakano-vowsbar.com/
What Is Tokyo Tower?Tokyo Tower is a communications tower finished in 1958. It is a symbolic tower of Tokyo, complete with commercial facilities and observatory. The tower has been loved by the people of Japan since long ago.Tokyo Tower is known for its impressive warm red appearance, but did you know that it actually changes colors depending on the season?Seasonal events and light-ups are held regularly at Tokyo Tower. Today we will be introducing the blue Tokyo Tower of the summer.Read also:A Beginner’s Guide To Tokyo TowerSummer Only! “Milky Way Illumination”The highlight of Tokyo Tower in the summer is the Milky Way Illumination that is held annually on the first floor of the observatory. Visitors can enjoy illuminations representing the summer night sky and the Milky Way. During this season, the outside stairs connecting the ground and the observatory are also decorated in the same way, and are opened to the public as the “outer staircase of blue stars”.They can be used between 17:00 – 22:00 on weekdays and 11:00 – 22:00 on weekends and holidays, however it is not open on rainy days. You can check the official website for more details on whether or not the staircase is open. Climbing the shining blue stairs will have you excited even before you reach the observatory.There is a daily-changing event stage on the first floor of the observatory called Club333. The day we visited was a Thursday, and a live performance called the “Thursday’s Concert” was being held. It was a perfect performance for an adult night out. The audience listened attentively to the beautiful singing, and combined with the illuminations, the place had an entrancing atmosphere.This is the Look Down Window where you can look directly down through the floor. From here you can see the road way down below and realize how high the observatory actually is. Even if you’re normally scared of heights, the Milky Way illuminations might give you enough courage to try it out.Held At The Same Time: “Tokyo Tower Summer Light Fantasia”This is the Tokyo Tower Summer Light Fantasia that started in the summer of 2016. Projection mapping can be found at the north and west of the observatory second floor. The Japanese summer is represented with shooting stars and fireflies. Virtual fireworks presentations are also held four times a day, at 19:15, 20:15, 21:15, and 22:15. Enjoy the fireworks in the Tokyo night sky!This projection mapping is done on the the upper two windows here. Can you tell why? Projecting the starry sky on the upper windows puts the stars above the actual Tokyo cityscape. Here, visitors can enjoy a star-filled sky along with the Tokyo city night view.For 2016, a song called “Hoshi ga Kireina Yoru Deshita” (“It was a night with beautiful stars”) by the Japanese band Kobukuro is used as a theme song. The voices of the two male vocalists fill the room. Performances associated with Kobukuro music can be seen six times a day at 7 PM, 8 PM, 9 PM, 9:30 PM, 10 PM, and 10:30 PM.On the second floor of the observatory there is a small shrine called the Tower Daijingu. It is the shrine at the highest location in Tokyo’s 23 wards. Because it is located at a high altitude, students hoping for better grades often come to visit. It is also said to have good effects for romantic connections, so go ahead and make a wish if you feel the need.I Can’t Speak Japanese…?Some people might be worried about visiting as they can’t speak or understand Japanese, but there’s no need to worry. Pamphlets are available in English, Chinese, and Korean. The announcements in the elevator are also made in English. Free Wi-Fi can be used at the Special Observatory (250 m), the Main Observatory (150 m), and on the third floor of the Foot Town. So you probably won’t have any problems enjoying the facility. It’s said that about 30% of all the visitors here come from overseas.Tokyo Tower isn’t just a fun communications tower. It’s a tower where you can learn about Japan’s four seasons and the city of Tokyo itself. How about visiting Tokyo Tower and its bright starry sky this summer?Recommended articlesA Beginner’s Guide To Tokyo TowerTemple And Tokyo Tower Collaboration! Zojoji in Minato-ku (Japanese)Join The Straw Hat Pirates! Tokyo One Piece Tower (Restaurant & Shops)Join The Straw Hat Pirates! Tokyo One Piece Tower (Live Show)Thorough Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree Comparisons by a Thai Student
Power spots, also known as kiba or energy spots, are places with a strong life force where unseen mystical powers seem to be at play.A Modern Craze with Traditional OriginsIn East Asian medicine and philosophy, there is a concept called ki, or life energy, which has long been believed to cause mysterious phenomena and have the power to cure illness. Recently, places where this mystic force gathers have been gaining attention, and thanks to television personalities and other celebrities visiting these power spots, they’ve become quite the trend.Source: Enjoy the Cool Summer in Spiritual Places “Kurama” and “Kifune”Several famous power spots are temples and shrines, such as Izumo-taisha in Shimane Prefecture or Kifune Shrine in Kyoto. In other places, the power spot is nature itself, like world-famous Mt. Fuji and Chikubu Island in Shiga Prefecture, where Lake Biwa is located.Discover the Power for YourselfSharing the same status as Mt. Fuji as a World Heritage Site, Wakayama Prefecture’s Kumano is praised as being a spot that receives power from the Gods of the natural world and is definitely worth a visit.This is especially true of Nachi Falls, which is revered as a deity itself. It’s said that if you bathe the spray that cascades from its 133-meter height, all that ails you will be washed away, and you will be born anew.
What is Ueno Castle?Ueno Castle (otherwise known as Iga Ueno Castle) is a Japanese castle in Iga city, Mie. Please note that Ueno in Iga city is not the same as the Ueno in Tokyo. Iga city is actually a town known for ninjas in the Chubu region (while Tokyo is in the Kanto region).Ueno Castle was built 400 years ago in 1608 by the warlord Todo Takatora who ruled the area. Todo Takatora was known to construct many castles and, aside from the Ueno Castle, he constructed magnificent structures such as Uwajima Castle and Imabari Castle in Ehime and the Sasayama Castle in Hyogo.The highlight of the Ueno Castle is the third-floor tenshu (*1) with its beautiful white walls. The roof of the tenshu is said to look like a hoou (*2) resting its wings and the castle is referred to as the ‘white hoou castle’. The original Ueno Castle constructed by Takatora was once destroyed by a storm in 1612 and the stone walls and moat are the only things that remained from the original structure today. The building standing now was reconstructed in 1935.In this article, we have collected information about the famed castle in the Chubu region, facts and access methods to the Ueno Castle.*1 Tenshu: The tallest part of the castle. It is also the symbol of the castle.*2 Hoou: A mythical bird that looks like a peacock.Basic Information About Ueno CastleUeno Castle is closed annually from December 29th to 31st. Otherwise, it is open all year round from 9:00-17:00. Last entry is at 16:45.Entry fee is 500 yen for adults, 200 yen for elementary and middle school students (tax included).Getting to Ueno CastleIn order to get to Iga Ueno Castle, you would first have to get on the bullet train to Nagoya Station from either Tokyo or Osaka. From Tokyo Station to Nagoya Station, it takes around an hour and 40 minutes and costs 10360 yen. From Shin-Osaka Station to Nagoya Station, it takes around an hour to an hour and 20 minutes and costs 5830 yen.At Nagoya Station, you will transfer to the JR Kansai Main Line Limited Express bound for Kameyama. Get off at Kameyama Station and transfer to the JR Kansai Main Line bound for Kamo and get off at Iga Ueno Station. At Iga Ueno Station, transfer to the Iga railway Iga line bound for Ueno city where you will get off at Ueno-shi Station. It takes around two hours and a half from Nagoya Station and costs 1920 yen.Ueno Castle is approximately a ten-minute walk from Ueno-shi Station.For more information regarding getting to Nagoya from Tokyo, please refer to Ways To Travel From Tokyo To Nagoya! A Thorough Comparison.Highlights of Iga Ueno CastleStone Walls These imposing stone walls that stand 30 meters high are said to have been constructed over 400 years ago. This is one of the tallest stone walls in Japan, nearly matching the stone walls of Osaka Castle which come in at 32 meters high. The historical atmosphere of this spot made it a perfect location for the movie ”Kagemusha” by the director Akira Kurosawa.Tenshu – The Castle TowerThe Tenshu has distinct white walls that glisten and a unique curved roof. It is a pleasure to look at from its outside, but the inside has a record of the history of the castle along with documents related to Takatora Todo. It is a great place to visit in order to have a better understanding of the castle.Out of the many artifacts, the war helmet that is said to have been given to Todo Takatora by the leader of Japan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (*3) has great historical value. Checking out the Toukannari Kabuto helmet at the tenshu is highly recommended.*3 Toyotomi Hideyoshi: one of the top three warlords of Japan during the Sengoku period along with Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu. He was born in a poor family of farmers but was taken in by Nobunaga for his intelligence. After Nobunaga’s death, he unified Japan.
Tengu are humanoid creatures from ancient Japanese folklore that cannot only fly but are said to be able to temporarily cause immobility in people as well. In today’s article we will take a look at these classic Japanese monsters that even make an appearance in the world’s first novel, The Tale of Genji.The Source of TenguFrom: A Mountain Inhabited by Legendary Creatures? Yakuōin Temple, Mt. Takao There are various theories as to the origins of the tengu as they are known in Japan; most agree that they came to Japan via China, and to China from India. Tengu make their first appearance in Japanese literature in the Nihon-shoki, the oldest chronicles of Japan, which came into existence in roughly the 6th century. In China, tengu are an ominous, baneful dark star that has fallen from the Heavens to the Earth, said to cause terror and horrific natural phenomenon between humans (for example, wars suddenly breaking out).What is a Tengu?Photo courtesy: Photo ACIn ancient Japan, mountains were said to be different worlds and as such, any events happening within the mountains were considered to be the result of the actions of tengu. And it goes without saying that on especially sacred mountains, tengu were guaranteed to be found. As people thought more and more on how the tengu looked and behaved, it wasn’t long before they came to be venerated as a type of deity by the ancient Japanese.The Tengu’s AppearancePhoto courtesy: Photo ACThe appearance of a tengu varies by era and location, but they are most commonly believed to look like Buddhist priests, male children, or ogres. Now they are mainly represented as having long noses, vivid red faces and wearing the garb of an itinerant Buddhist monk, with great wings coming out of their backs; these wings enable them to fly freely through the air.There are 3 main types of tengu: Hanataka Tengu (long-nosed tengu), Karasu Tengu (crow tengu), which have bird-like faces with long beaks, and Konoha Tengu (weak tengu). It is believed that the inspiration for the image of the Japanese tengu came from the Hindu-Buddhist legend of a man-bird deity known as the Great Garuda.Where to Find TenguAs tengu are well-known creatures throughout Japanese folklore, it goes without saying that there are sightseeing spots dedicated to them all across Japan, but now we would like to introduce three of the most popular spots to learn more about the tengu.1. Tokyo: Mount TakaoFrom: Hike the Most Visited Mountain in the World, Mount Takao45 minutes by Keio Line Limited Express from Shinjuku Station will take you to Mount Takao, a popular mountain climbing spot that is famous for its tengu legend. Tengu Dango, dumplings made from 10 different types of grains and Tengu Yaki, sweets that are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, are two of the most popular souvenirs found at Mount Takao.Read also: A Mountain Inhabited by Legendary Creatures? Yakuōin Temple, Mt. Takao Mount Takao View Information2. Kanagawa: Daiyuzan SaijojiPhoto courtesy: Photo ACDaiyuzan Saijoji was founded in 1394 by the priest Ryoan. After his death, his disciple Doryo is said to have turned into a tengu in order to protect the temple. There are many different incredibly impressive statues and depictions of tengu to see at Saijōji Temple. Not only that, but the tea house before the temple gates features many tengu-themed pastries and light meals on its menu. Daiyuzan Saijoji Temple View Information3. Kyoto: KuramaderaPhoto courtesy: Photo ACKuramadera is the temple where the Heian era military commander Minamoto no Yoshitsune studied to become a monk as a child. It is said that he was taught martial arts by the Kurama Tengu that lived in Kurama mountains, and at this temple you can purchase omamori (amulets) connected to these tengu. Kurama-dera Temple View InformationPractically everywhere you go in Japan you will find some connection or another to the folklore surrounding tengu. If, on your previous travels about Japan, you happened to see a figure or statue of a man with a long nose and red face, then you have already witnessed a part of the tengu legend for yourself.After you’ve seen some of the main sightseeing spots in Japan, you should definitely take a look around for tengu; you might end up having a wonderful and mysterious encounter of your own.
Tochigi City’s cultural asset, Izurusan Niōmon, the Buddhist gates built in 1735 during the Tokugawa Period, was constructed like a “jigsaw puzzle” without using nails. It is an impressive piece of architecture.Preparing for the Waterfall MeditationAs part of the tour, you can try the ancient ritual waterfall meditation (takigyo) practiced by yamabushi, mountain monks. Please be aware that this practice is not recommended for persons who easily get cold feet.First, at the reception, you will be asked to read and sign a liability waiver, to make sure that you acknowledge the risks involved by this practice. Then, you pick up a bag with a white robe (shiroshozoku) in your size. Uzuma River once gave life to the former merchant town and made it the center of politics, economy and culture in Tochigi as it connected it to the heart of Edo (the old name of Tokyo). It takes 100 steps on the stone stairway before reaching the entrance to the Okunoin halls which lead to the limestone cave where a mysterious stalactite formation of an eleven-headed Kannon (Goddess of Mercy) lies.11:00 — Challenge Yourself to Waterfall TrainingThis is the moment when excitement and anxiety mix but don’t let this give you cold feet. Change into the ritual white robe in the changing room provided then stretch and try to relax by breathing normally. Tochigi City and the other major cities in Tochigi prefecture, such as Utsunomiya, Nasu or Mashiko, are very close to Tokyo and are easily accessible by train or bus. While you can choose to visit these areas privately, traveling here in an organized tour with the assistance of local guides is a very rewarding way to get to know the best places and the attractions that the locals are most proud of.This time we will introduce a one day tour of Tochigi that was organized by the Tourism Department of Tochigi City in collaboration with EMBLEM Hostel Nishiarai, a popular hostel located in Tokyo. The first edition of this tour took place in November 2017 and the participants were guests of EMBLEM Hostel. We also accompanied the group in order to give you a detailed report on the tour.This day trip covers a visit to a Buddhist temple to try the ancient ritual of waterfall meditation (takigyo). Then, we’ll head over to a buckwheat workshop to learn how to make soba noodles and eat them too! Afterward, we’ll take a tour of Kuranomachi, Tochigi’s traditional town, and explore the well-preserved historical buildings and streets. Lastly, we’ll complete the day tour after going on a 20-minute boat ride on the Uzuma river. Let’s go!7:08 – 8:28 — Nishiarai Station to Tochigi StationIf you catch the 7:08 train from Tokyo’s Nishiarai Station, it takes about 90 minutes directly to Tochigi Station on the Tobu Line with a quick platform transfer at Minami Kurihashi Station.8:50 — Bus for Izuru Kannon Japan’s popular kawaii culture has made its way to most commercial aspects of life including Tochigi prefecture’s adorable mascot, Tochisuke, who will be waiting for you outside the tourist information center where the tour will begin. Nestled in nature, surrounded by towering trees, the main temple Omido, which was built in 1368 and rebuilt in 1764 after a great fire, attracts worshipers who pray for prosperity.From here, you will turn right to begin a 15-minute gentle hike up to the woods with a few mini bridges to cross and, if you’re lucky, you might even see the resident monkeys! The photo above shows monks Ayabe and Takayama inviting the rest of the group to enter the sacred place and go in the chilly knee-deep basin to begin the training. If you’ve missed breakfast then there’s enough time to grab it at the convenience store inside the station.To the right of the station is the toilet and a smoking area to puff away but leave some room in the lungs for the waterfall training.10:00 — Izurusan Mangan TempleTwenty kilometers northeast of Tochigi city is Manganji, a Buddhist temple which offers training in waterfall meditation (takigyo). This is an ascetic practice for people who want to purify and strengthen their mind, body and soul so they can smile at the hardships of life: stress, fatigue, depression or bad relationships. It’s also for those who simply want to stretch their limits. Host Tomomi Yamamoto bids the group goodbye with typical Japanese omotenashi (hospitality). Yokoyama Local Culture Hall is open daily from 9:00 to 17:00 except Mondays. Admission is 300 yen for high school students and older.15:40 — Enjoying a Pleasure Boat Ride on the Uzuma RiverOn the banks of the former house of famous Edo ukiyoe artist Kitagawa Utamaro, you can go on a 20-minute boat ride along the Uzuma River with a boatman (sendo) who will sing and tell you stories of old in Japanese. The boat rides are held daily from 10:00 to 16:00 (Tickets: adults 700 yen, children 500 yen, pets 100 yen). Julie from France is learning what the in-house instructors call the most important step to making delicious Hachi-wari Soba, which consist of 80% buckwheat flour and 20% wheat flour. Hachi-wari means 80% in Japanese. The texture is likened to al dente pasta. The garden is really beautiful in every season. You can enjoy watching it from inside as you sip on some tea or take a walk in it. Mirko from Croatia, who has worked with fish back home, rolls the dough evenly with a rolling pin, impressing the instructors. Before flipping the soba dough, you need to knead it well with the bottom part of your palms to give it strength and elasticity. While waiting for your handmade soba to be boiled and prepared, feel free to take a stroll outside the workshop, to see the incredible countryside foliage in the area. I hope you’ve enjoyed our report on the journey with the group. Now it’s your turn to make your own memories of Tochigi!A Highly Recommended Exciting Day Tour of Tochigi!Tochigi prefecture is full of exciting places to see and things to do but if you’re a tourist who’s more into historical architecture, wants to experience traditional life or wants to stop over on the way to Nikko or Ashikaga in the north, then this type of day trip that let’s you experience Japanese culture firsthand might be just the thing for you.You May Also LikeA Day In Tochigi – Stroll Around The Old Town Wearing A KimonoGreat For A Family Trip! Nasu – Enjoy An Exciting Day In TochigiEMBLEM Hostel Nishiarai: A Bond Between Travelers And Locals After one minute of boiling, the soba noodles are drained and served cool on a bamboo strainer (zaru). You eat it by dipping it into a small bowl of light soup (tsuyu) to which you can add chopped leek and wasabi. As the saying goes, do as the locals do – slurp!The soba cooking lesson is offered in English. The restaurant is located inside Izuru Fureai no Mori, a spacious forest park filled with family-friendly facilities and activities such as barbecue, cottages, slides and campsites. The restaurant itself is open daily between 8:30 and 17:00 except Tuesdays.13:40 — Bus for TochigiOnce recharged, it’s time to catch a 45-minute bus ride to the former storehouse town in Tochigi city so sit back and enjoy the picturesque countryside view.14:50 — Touring the Kuranomachi TownscapeStep back into a time when Kuranomachi, a city of wholesale dealers, was a major trading spot during the Edo period (1600-1867) in northern Kanto. It also served as a passage town for the lords coming from Western Japan into Nikko. For another river city that prospered in the Edo period, check out our article on Sawara located in Chiba prefecture. Two hundred years have not stopped these former earthen-walled warehouses from operating. The area has been renovated into the Tochigi Kuranomachi Museum of Art which now mainly showcases local artists. Open daily from 9:00 to 17:00 except on Mondays. Admission is 500 yen for high school students and older. After folding the dough into layers of thin even sheets, use a cutting guide board (komaita) to make even slices. An afternoon cruise with the symphony of ducks, birds and carp under the autumn sun could be a form of meditation in itself. First, the participants usually bow to three resident deities, whose statues are above the waterfall, for protection before going under the cold cascading water which flows from the cave nearby. In the past, men used to occupy this tea room while the women in the family used the smaller adjacent room. Times may have changed but the classic combination of wagashi (Japanese sweets) and tea is a timeless afternoon treat which you can savor here at Yokoyama Cultural Hall. At the back of the garden, you may notice a small Christian statue. The Christian faith had been “illegal” in the Edo period, but even in the more liberal times of the Meiji era, it was kept rather discrete. Doing takigyo is more than just an experience you cross off your bucket list. It’s a form of Buddhist asceticism – a voluntary practice of self-discipline so one can reach a higher state of existence. But even if you’re not spiritual, it still makes for a cool and unique experience you can post on your SNS. After changing into warm clothing, hike back down towards the entrance where a bus will be waiting to take everyone to the next part of the trip.12:30 — Make Soba Noodles From ScratchIt’s time for lunch and we get the chance to actually cook for ourselves a Japanese dish! Soba is a type of buckwheat noodles and is a speciality of Tochigi because of the favorable climate. Boatman Fujinuma-san uses a traditional long pole (misao) made of bamboo to push the boat along the 60 cm deep canal. White and gray ducks (onagagamo), brown ducks (hidorigamo) and geese from Siberia share the river with the carp but when food is thrown, it’s every animal for itself. If you’re tempted to pat the horde of carp (koi) on the head, then it’s safe to do so because they’re toothless.15:15 — Yokoyama Cultural HallFifteen minutes on foot from Tochigi Station is a former wholesale hemp store that was run by the wealthy merchant Yokoyama family during the Meiji era (1868 – 1912). The hemp was mainly used to make the thongs of geta (wooden clogs) and was shipped to Edo (Tokyo) to be sold. Beside the store is a carefully restored bank built in 1900, the first in Tochigi.The building is now the Yokoyama Cultural Hall, a facility where visitors can experience Japanese culture such as walking through a traditional garden or wearing a kimono. For details on Yokoyama Cultural Hall, please refer to this article: A Day In Tochigi – Stroll Around The Old Town Wearing A Kimono Fujinuma-san enchants the group with a lovely folk song (minyo) about the nostalgic river. Even if you don’t understand Japanese, his personality will surely amuse you. Get into the action too by being his backup vocals and respond “Ha-a-Yoisa Korasho.”Other Things To Enjoy in Tochigi CitySightseeing buses for 200 yen give you unlimited rides around the city. To tour on bike, it’s 300 yen for 3 hours and 500 yen for one day to hire. For a free guide and more info, visit the official website Tochigi Kuranomachi.16:34 – 17:53 — Going Back from Tochigi Station to Nishiarai Station Everyone gathers in anticipation as the first person goes under the 8 m high waterfall which is 7°C all year round. When it’s finally time to go, try to make a wish and/or focus on the movement of the air in your lungs – not an easy task when the constant cold water crashes on your shoulders and neck.The monks will chant a mantra known as Hannya Shingyo (The Heart Sutra) while shaking a shakujo, an amulet, to protect the participants from any harm.
Shimanami Kaidō is the highway that connects Onomichi city, Hiroshima prefecture, located in the Chūgoku region and Imabari City, Ehime prefecture, located in the Shikoku region. It is the perfect location for you to look out at the various islands on the Japanese inland sea (Setonaikai). In this article, we will show you the sightseeing spots you can stop by along the way.Read also:Japanese Encyclopedia: Chūgoku Region5 Things To Do In Hiroshima, The City Of Peace And CultureJapanese Encyclopedia: Shikoku RegionShimanami Kaidō – Linking the IslandsShimanami Kaidō, with its official name Nishiseto Jidōshadō, is a highway of 60 kilometers that links Onomichi city and Imabari city. Each bridge that links the islands has its own name, and all together they are called Shimanami Kaidō. Before we continue, we would like to point out that there are special lanes for pedestrians and bikers to pass through the highway free of charge.Both Onomichi and Imabari offer bike rentals and also a coin-operated shower stall so tourists can go cycling along the sea without any advance preparation. You can find more information on bike rentals on the Setouchi Shimanami Kaidō Co-Operative Association website, which is available in several languages.Starting Point of the Highway: Onomichi – the Town of HillsShimanami Kaidō starts in Onomichi, Hiroshima prefecture. First it reaches Mukaishima by passing the first bridge, Onomichi-Ōhashi. Since this bridge is narrow and can be dangerous, however, bikers and pedestrians use ferries in order to get to Mukaishima.Onomichi is a compact city where everything is gathered in a narrow and hilly area which is surrounded by the sea and mountains. The most popular activity for visitors to this area is sightseeing at the old and traditional Buddhist temples.Mukaishima and Innoshima IslandsMukaishima is just on the other side of Onomichi, and continues on to Innoshima. Mukaishima is known for mikan orange production and their fresh orange juice is very famous.On the larger scale of citrus fruits, Hassaku Jelly is made using the hassaku oranges produced here and is a dessert that you can enjoy anywhere in Hiroshima.Innoshima is known as the origin of hassaku oranges. It is also the old base of Japanese pirates and there are many historic spots and museums related to pirates found here.A Gigantic Suspension Bridge in an Attractive FormWe cannot speak of Shimanami Kaidō without mentioning the big suspension bridge that connects the islands.Tatara Ōhashi is the largest cable-stayed bridge in Japan, found between Ikuchijima and Ōmishima islands. A cable-stayed bridge refers to a bridge that supports the crossing area with a cable built diagonally from a high tower. This design forms a beautiful triangle.Kurushima Ōhashi, the bridge that links Kurushima Island and Imabari city, is over 4 kilometers long. You can see stunning sunsets from the bridge that stretches from east to west.Ōshima, a Spot Full of HighlightsŌshima is located on the other side of Imabari city, Ehime prefecture. It is surrounded by Kurushima Straight which has a rapid current. The streams hit the islands, and in that way, natural whirling waves occur.You can watch the powerful whirlpools by getting on the whirlpool sightseeing boats from Ōshima.Kirosan Observation Park is a recommended spot to look out at Kurushima Ōhashi from Ōshima. The observation platform designed by the famous Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma, is made of wood and has a modern look. A spectacular view suddenly opens up once you walk up the stairs.You will see a beautiful suspension bridge which draws an unconstrained arch, and Setonaikai, which entertains you with different looks with the rapid streams. We hope you will have a chance to see this dramatic view in person.Imabari City, a City of History and IndustryShimanami Kaidō ends in Imabari city, Ehime prefecture. It developed as the major marine traffic point in Setonaikai, and there were castles in the old days as well. Now, the castle tower which symbolizes Imabari Castle, has been rebuilt and visitors can walk inside there as well.Moreover, Imabari is well known for high quality towel production. Old weaving looms and machines are exhibited at the Imabari Towel Historical Museum.The Imabari Towel Flagship Store, located next to the museum, offers official Imabari towels, and it is always full of tourists.Shimanami Kaidō is full of entertaining spots all the way from Onomichi and Imabari. What is nice about it is that even if you do not have a car, you can cross the road with a bike. Why don’t you visit Shimanami Kaidō on your next trip?InformationKurushima Straight Whirlpool Sightseeing BoatAddress: Ehime, Imabari, Yoshiumichōmyō 4520-2 Michi-no-eki Yoshiumi IkikikanHours: Around 9:00-16:00 (changes due to sea level)Closed: January 1Wi-Fi: UnavailableCredit cards: Not acceptedOther Languages: Website available in English and Chinese, Japanese only in the storesMenu in other languages: -Access: 10 minute drive from Ōshima Minami (大島南) interchange, Nishiseto ExpresswayAdmission Fee: 1500 yenPhone Number: 81-897-84-3710Religion: -Official Website: Kurushima Straight Sightseeing BoatKirosan Observation ParkAddress: Ehime, Imabari, Yoshiumichō-minamiura 487-4Hours: 24 hoursClosed: NoneWi-Fi: UnavailableAccess: 10-minute drive from interchanges Ōshima Minami and Ōshima Kita, Nishiseto ExpresswayAdmission Fee: Free of chargePhone Number: 81-897-84-2111Religion: -Official Website: Kirosan Observation Park (English)Imabari CastleAddress: Ehime, Imabari, Tōri-chō 3-1-3Hours: 9:00-17:00Closed: December 29, 30, 31Wi-Fi: UnavailableCredit cards: Not acceptedOther Languages: -Pamphlets in Other Languages: -Nearest Station: Imabari-jō-mae bus stop (今治城前) on Setouchi BusAccess: From Imabari Station on JR Yosan line, take the Setouchi Bus and get off at Imabari-jō-mae bus stopAdmission Fee: 500 yenReligion: ShintōPhone number: 81-898-31-9233Official website: Imabari Castle (Japanese)Imabari Towel Flagship StoreAddress: Ehime, Imabari,Tōmonchō 5-14-3Hours: 9:00-18:00Closed: December 29 to January 3Wi-Fi: UnavailableCredit cards: VISA, Master Card, JCB are acceptedOther Languages: -Nearest Station: Imabari (今治) station on JR Yosansen (予讃線) lineAccess: 10 minute drive by taxi from Imabari stationPrice range: Handkerchief available from 500 yenPhone number: 81-898-34-3486Religion: -Official website: Imabari Towel Flagship Store (Japanese)
Isn’t one of the pleasures of traveling being able to eat delicious, locally sourced food? Hokkaido has dishes like Genghis Khan BBQ, ramen, soup curry, pork rice bowls and more. Its sushi and seafood bowls, which use fish caught in the northern seas, are also very appealing. That’s why we’re going to introduce you to the “jogai” market next to the Sapporo Central Wholesale Market, just 20 minutes from the Sapporo city center by train.What Is the Sapporo Central Wholesale Market?All sorts of Hokkaido vegetables, fruits, and freshly caught seafood arrive at the Sapporo Central Wholesale Market every day. Right next to the Sapporo Central Wholesale Market, which is distributor-only, there is a section of the market open to all, known as the jogai market. Rows of around 60 shops are located in this area, including fishmongers, greengrocers and dry goods stores, and starting at 6:00 in the morning, the absolute freshest and most carefully selected ingredients will be in front of their shops.Furthermore, there are many places which make use of the market’s ingredients, like sushi restaurants and set lunch shops, and for a reasonable price you can enjoy tasty seasonal food to your heart’s content. Products are on display until the end of the market auctions, so go early in the morning to be certain you’ll be able to buy what you want. We recommend doing your shopping in the morning, then eating lunch at the jogai market before heading out.Plenty of Seafood to Savor!There are tanks filled with plenty of live crabs.Crabs taken out of the tank are arranged like this, in front of the store. Because most places can ship their products via express home delivery, you don’t need to worry about having to carry around a giant crab with you all day.There is also plenty of delicious-looking dried seafood too.In the Passageways Between ShopsThere are narrow passages that run between shops. Actually, if you head into these dim alleys, there are many shops that offer delicious fresh seafood bowls and sushi. All of them are in the same general price range, so head into a restaurant that seems intriguing.As for myself, I ordered a seafood bowl. As I enjoyed the plump shrimp and salmon roe, I sipped my hot miso soup, and was able to fully enjoy what Hokkaido’s seas have to offer.In ClosingSapporo has several markets, but the jogai market is the largest in scale, and you can experience the liveliness of the market firsthand. The seafood you can eat in the streets of Sapporo City is delicious, but we recommend getting your fill of delicious food in an environment that can only be experienced here at the Sapporo Central Wholesale Market.InformationSapporo Central Wholesale MarketAddress: Hokkaido, Sapporo, Chuo, Kita 11 Jo-Nishi 21-2-3Hours: 6:00 – 17:00Closed: Varies by shopNearest Station: Nijuyonken Station (Tozai Subway Line)Access: Seven minutes from Nijuyonken Station on footPhone: 011-621-7044Homepage:Sapporo Central Wholesale Market
When you think of traditional Japanese buildings, such as shrines and temples, what do you imagine first? For many, the image of wavy roofs (similar to those in the pictures above) is the first thing that springs into mind.This type of roof is known as kawara-yane 瓦屋根 in Japanese. Kawara is a variety of clay tile.What exactly is a kawara? The term originally refers to a slab of clay that has been baked until it hardens. However, materials such as cement have taken precedence in recent years.The notion of clay, together with clay roofs, were passed on from China around the 7th century. Due to their fire resistant properties and good ventilation features, clay tiles were always well suited to the Japanese climate. Their usage in construction soon spread throughout the country.In the picture at the top of this article, you probably noticed a scary clay face looking back at you! This is called onigawara 鬼瓦, and is a ridge-end demon thought to ward off evil spirits – similar to the gargoyles you see adorning Gothic buildings in Europe.Next time you visit a traditional Japanese building, how about watching out for these architectural details?
For the Thai people, the most popular sightseeing destination in Japan is Saga Prefecture. TV series and movies shot in Saga have been released in Thai, and the number of people hoping to visit Saga is steadily increasing.In July of 2017, a TV special set in Saga Prefecture was broadcast in Japan. Its English version will be shown in the autumn, on NHK WORLD TV. This is an international broadcasting service operated by NHK (a Japanese public broadcasting organization), making it possible for Japanese TV special to be viewed in English in 160 countries. Thiti Mahayotharak (also known as “Bank”) will appear in the TV special titled “Gata no Kuni Kara” (literally “From the Country of Gata”), scheduled to be broadcast on November 26th. As of November 2017, it is possible to watch this show via VOD (Video On Demand) in two languages, English and Thai.The program will be showing Saga’s wonderful places such as the onsen (hot springs) and higata (the tideland), so it might be fun to visit them beforehand.Kashima and UreshinoThis drama was mainly shot in Kashima City and Ureshino City. They are located in western Saga, and prospered as a post town in the Edo Period. Both cities are filled with historic inns, sake breweries, shrines and temples, so they attract a large number of tourists every year.The tideland in Kashima City is registered in the Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental treaty for the conservation of wetlands. This vast area of 57 hectares in size is a crucial location in “Gata no kuni kara.”Ureshino City is famous for its onsen (hot springs), and a popular onsen also appears in the drama. So let’s take a look at those sites.Yutoku Inari Shrine At Ariake Sea, the difference between the high-water and low-water marks is huge, and as a result, a vast tideland appears at low tide.Every year in June, Gatalympic, an athletic meet, is held in the tideland near the Roadside Station Kashima (Michi no eki Kashima). All the participants will get covered in mud during the footrace and tug-of-war, but they enjoy it. To participate, a reservation via the Gatalympic site (Japanese only) is required in advance.Even if you can’t go to the Gatalympic, there is a Tidal Flat Workshop from April to October, hosted by Roadside Station Kashima. Rental skis and body boards are available, so you can go skiing or surfing in the tideland. There are locker rooms and showers at the Roadside Station, so don’t worry.The mudskippers (mutsugoro) inhabit the tideland. They are small, about fifteen centimeters long, and walk around aimlessly. Mutsugoro plays an important role in “Gata no Kuni Kara,” so be sure to look for them.Japan Expo in Thailand 2017Saga Prefecture, unlike Tokyo or Osaka, has an idyllic atmosphere, with an abundance of rice paddies and mountains, and most visitors think of a second visit. Those who want to know more about Saga Prefecture and other sightseeing spots in Japan should visit the Japan Expo in Thailand 2017, held in Bangkok from Friday, September 1st to Sunday, September 3rd of 2017.NHK WORLD and various Japanese prefectures will be present as exhibitors, plus there will be booths related to food and pop culture too, so visitors will be able to gather a wide range of information all about Japan. Bank, who came to Saga for the drama shoot, is scheduled to appear at a talk session from 1:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. on Sunday, September 3rd. He might talk about the “Gata no Kuni Kara” shoot, or about the appeals of Saga Prefecture and Japan.Don’t miss the drama “Gata no Kuni Kara” which will be broadcast in English on NHK WORLD, and the Japan Expo in Thailand 2017. And, now you can watch “Gata no Kuni Kara” on NHK WORLD TV’s VOD (Video On Demand) too! Yutoku Inari Shrine, located in Kashima City, has appeared in various Thai dramas and movies and is well known. It also appears in “Gata no Kuni Kara.”The shrine, with a red torii arch and a main shrine supported by red wooden structures, has a history of more than 300 years. As it enshrines Inari, the god of harvests, many visitors pray for prosperity here. The autumn leaves welcome the visitors in November and December.The kagura dance (*1) at the monthly festivals is an event you should see. The dance, performed by miko using folding fans and bells, is truly elegant. The festival schedule can be checked on the English site of the shrine.The Yutoku Museum displays the shrine’s collections of artwork and handicrafts. The traditional armor used by the feudal lord of Kashima-han, which ruled this area, is also displayed. So do visit the museum, as well as the shrine.*1 Kagura dance: A Shinto ritual in form of a dance.Take a Break at Siebold’s Footbath For further information about NHK WORLD, take a look at their English site or Thai site.If you want to know about the event hosted by NHK WORLD in Thailand, check this English site.For further information about NHK WORLD’s drama “Gata no Kuni Kara”, take a look at their official site.For information about Japan Expo in Thailand 2017, please refer to their official site (Japanese and Thai).Photos by Saga Prefectural Tourism Federation, Yutoku Inari Shrine, ShutterstockSponsored by NHK WORLD Ureshino Onsen, one of the prominent hot spring areas in Japan, is located at Ureshino City. The spring contains a high amount of sodium. Along with Kitsuregawa Onsen (Tochigi Prefecture) and Hinokami Onsen (Shimane Prefecture), Ureshino Onsen has been regarded as one of the three major Japanese Hot Springs for Beautiful Skin, and welcomes a large number of female tourists. The tofu made with the hot spring water is a special product of this area. Visitors can have fun at Ureshino Onsen, regardless of the season.The nostalgic building of Siebold’s Footbath, which appears in the drama, stands out among Ureshino’s bathing facilities. The footbath is a public facility, and visitors can soak their feet without charge. This is the perfect place to take a break from walking around Ureshino.Roadside Station Kashima: Meet the Mudskippers
Kanazawa’s Cherry Blossom Season in 2019Approximated dates for when the cherry blossoms start to bloom in Kanazawa and when they are in peak bloom, are listed below. In general, they last from early to mid-April. Compared to flowers in Tokyo, which are best seen from late March to early April, these bloom a little later. Picture courtesy of Mt. Okuutatsu ParkAt Mt. Okuutatsu Park, you can have barbecues, play park golf, and enjoy the beauty of nature at spots like the rose garden. In spring, check out the blossoms that hang over the pond. The flowers are reflected in the water’s surface, turning the surrounding area completely pink! The park also has double-flowered cherry trees and Yoshino cherry trees, which are must-sees.Mt. Oku-Utatsu ParkAddress: Ishikawa, Kanazawa City, Wakamatsu 32 Google MapsAccess: From JR Kanazawa Station, take the Kita-Tetsu bus bound for Mt. Utatsu/Senjukaku (35 minutes, 310 yen) and get off at the Suzumidai 4-chome stop, then walk for 16 minutesHomepage: OkuutatsuWhat to Wear During Cherry Blossom Viewing Season, and Kanazawa WeatherKanazawa’s flowers bloom from early to mid-April. In general, the temperature will range from 11 to 14℃, so you will need a jacket or sweater. It gets colder as the day goes on, so if you want to see the flowers at night, you should bring a coat.Cherry Blossom Viewing EtiquetteThe flowers will bloom all at once and fall from the trees before long, so many people will visit cherry blossom viewing spots. The important thing is to be polite. Here is some basic etiquette when going to see the flowers.1. Clean Up After Yourself and Take Your Trash Home While towering keeps are symbols of Japanese castles, the iconic Kanazawa Castle is known for not having one. At this famous tourist destination, you can not only enjoy nature but also experience the history and culture of Kanazawa. Places like the Ishikawa Gate and the castle park offer different ways to have fun at the castle. Known as “the manly river” for its vigorous current, the Saigawa River is 30 minutes from Kanazawa Station by car. Its banks are lined with cherry blossom trees, making the Saigawa River the perfect place to view the flowers in springtime. While the flowers are blooming, the area of trees near Saigawa Bridge may be lit up.Saigawa Bridge, registered as a Japanese tangible cultural property site, is also worth seeing.Saigawa BridgeAddress: Ishikawa, Kanazawa City, Katamachi Google MapAccess: 15 minutes on foot from Nomachi Station (Hokuriku Railroad, Ishikawa Line)4. Mt. Okuutatsu Park It’s fun to chat as you look at the flowers, and it’s not a rule that you have to be quiet, but don’t bother other people. One cause of noise problems is alcohol. You may see other groups getting too drunk and causing a fuss, but don’t forget that they’re bothering people who are trying to enjoy themselves. Be considerate of those around you.3. Only Reserve the Necessary Space for Your Group *This is a rewrite of an article originally published on July 13th, 2016.Original writer: Sawada Tomomi Start Date in 2019March 29 Castles And Japanese Gardens! Top 5 Cherry Blossom Spots In Hokuriku Kenrokuen Garden’s Sphaerantha cherry blossomsDuring early April, Kanazawa Castle and Kenrokuen Garden are lit up and entry to the garden is free. Be aware that the duration when the lights are on varies from year to year, and that Kenrokuen Garden does not have areas where you can lay out tarps for picnics. Enjoy a leisurely stroll amidst the trees. Kenrokuen Garden View InformationparkRead also Kanazawa’s Kenrokuen: One of the Three Great Gardens of Japan Kanazawa – 8 Places To Visit In The City Of Refined Japanese Culture Cherry Blossom Season in Kanazawa In this article, we’ll introduce four spots to see the cherry blossoms in Kanazawa!1. Kenrokuen Garden Read also Full Bloom Date in 2019April 1 13 Top Cherry Blossom Spots Near Hiroshima, Tottori, And Shikoku The Three Beautiful Gates Kanazawa Castle Is Famous For Ishikawa Prefecture’s Kanazawa City is known as a castle town with its traditional Kenrokuen Garden, one of the top three gardens in Japan. The charming townscape has a remaining Edo era atmosphere. In the spring, you can enjoy the sight of the castle, the town and the cherry blossoms.Read also Avoid plucking flower petals or climbing on the branches. Many cherry blossom viewing spots have fencing around the trees, and it is forbidden to enter these enclosures. Be considerate and respectful when you go to see the cherry blossoms.Read also How To Travel To Kanazawa From Tokyo, Osaka Or Kyoto Make sure to clean up any trash from bento boxes, snacks, and drinks, and take it with you when you leave.2. Don’t Shout! 15 Tokyo Cherry Blossom Spots That You Just Have To See! The castle site is home to over 400 trees. Similar to Kenrokuen Garden, it is also lit up from early to mid-April. You can see a totally different and beautiful side of the flowers at night.*Be aware that the duration when the lights are on varies from year to year. Kanazawajo Park View Informationpark 2. Kanazawa Castle Kanazawa Sightseeing – The Perfect Two-Day Itinerary Finding the Perfect Spot for Cherry Blossom Viewing, sourceWhen you’re going to see cherry blossoms, you’ll have to find a spot to view them from. However, don’t try to reserve more space than your group needs. Remember to compromise with others.4. Do Not Touch the Trees! Read also Japan’s Cherry Blossoms In 2019 – Forecast And Best Spots! Picture from 5 Superb Cherry Blossom Spots In Ishikawa, Toyama And FukuiThe vast Kenrokuen Garden is included in Japan’s top three gardens, along with Korakuen in Okayama City, Okayama Prefecture, and Kairakuen in Mito City, Ibaraki Prefecture. It is very famous. Kenrokuen Garden boasts is one of the most popular cherry blossom viewing locations in Ishikawa, with 420 cherry trees in 20 varieties that bloom in the springtime. The rare Sphaerantha cherry blossoms are a must-see, with a unique shape and color that change as the season goes on. 3. Saigawa River Terrace Kyoto’s Cherry Blossoms – 15 Recommended Spots And Viewing Tips
This is an amezaiku modeled after an uchiwa fan (*1) (600 yen). A cute traditional Japanese pattern decorates the whole surface, making it a clear and refreshing design.*1 uchiwa: a fan-like item used to cool down.This is a goldfish amezaiku (2980 yen). The carefully finished details make it so realistic that you wouldn’t even be surprised if it started moving. It really is a work of art. There are also amezaiku in the shape of cats and dogs, frogs, or even pandas. The shape and pattern of each amezaiku candy, even those of the same type, are all slightly different. You really ought to check them out in person!2. Amezaiku With Unique DesignsDid you realize that one of these Coca-Cola bottles is an amezaiku? If you can’t tell the difference in the picture, you will need to check it out at the shop in person.This mitsu ame (from 450 yen) is a handmade syrup that goes well with toast or pancakes.As you can see, efforts are made at Ameshin in order to innovate the amezaiku craft. Making completely original candy sounds fun too, as they have custom-made amezaiku available also.Watch Master Craftsmanship Right Before Your EyesThis is a demonstration of Ameshin’s amezaiku candy in the making. Only here can you observe the fine skills of an amezaiku craftsman right in front of your eyes. A Traditional Japanese Craftwork: AmezaikuAmezaiku is a type of Japanese traditional candy that has been enjoyed by people for over 1000 years. It is created by heating sugar into liquid candy and quickly shaping it into an animal or a flower.At present, there are fewer craftsmen than there used to be, and to be able to find one has become a rare opportunity. Today we will introduce the Asakusa Amezaiku “Ameshin” (Tokyo Skytree Town Solamachi store) which is a workshop-integrated store where you can watch the process of making amezaiku up close, and even purchase some of this gorgeous candy if you like.Introducing Ameshin’s Beautiful Amezaiku WorksTokyo Solamachi is a large shopping complex at the base of Tokyo Skytree. The fourth floor is an area for Japanese souvenirs. This is where Amezaiku Ameshin is located.First, let’s look at some of the amezaiku works that are sold here. You will be amazed at their beauty and at the fact that they are made of candy.1. Amezaiku Products – Giving You the Feel of Japan They say that the rough shaping of a goldfish or a bunny will take about 5 minutes, but the hard part is creating and painting the detailed lines and textured surfaces. Some even take up to 30 minutes. They are all made by hand, which means the craftsmen can finish only around 30 to 50 pieces each day… Each one is a precious work of art.All amezaiku products are sold exclusively at the Tokyo Skytree Town Solamachi Store. The head office is located in Asakusa, where you can experience making amezaiku (Japanese only, reservation required), but you can watch craftsmen making amezaiku only here at the Tokyo Skytree Town Solamachi Store. Demonstrations aren’t done all the time, so you should check the official website schedule (Japanese only) before you go.The main purpose of amezaiku is decorative, but after all, it’s candy so you can eat it as well. Now you would surely want some traditional Japanese amezaiku as a souvenir for your family and friends, wouldn’t you?InformationAsakusa Amezaiku Ameshin, Tokyo Skytree Town Solamachi StoreAddress: Tokyo, Sumida ward, Oshiage 1-1-2; Tokyo Skytree Town Solamachi 4FHours: 10:00 – 21:00Closed: Same schedule as the Skytree TownWi-Fi: -Credit cards: Tōbu, Mitsubishi UFJ Nicos, JCB, UC, American Express, Diners Club, Saison, DiscoverLanguages: -Menus in other languages: -Nearest station: Tokyo Skytree station on the Tōbu Skytree Line, Oshiage Station on Toei Asakusa Line, Keisei Oshiage Line and Tokyo Metro Hanzōmon Line.Access: 7-minute walk from Tokyo Skytree station Exit 1, direct elevator from underground passage of Oshiage stationPrice range: Uchiwa 600 yen, goldfish and others 2980 yenReligion: -Phone number: -Official website: Asakusa Amezaiku Ameshin
The reason why we warmly recommend enjoying sushi in the Tsukiji area is because the sushi restaurants here use the freshest ingredients, provided directly and on the same day from the Tsukiji Fish Market.The chefs at Sushi Zanmai purchases the seafood they need from trusted wholesalers in Tsukiji Market. Freshness is the most important quality that makes the sushi at this restaurant one of the best in Tokyo.In other words, there’s a high possibility that the tuna you saw being sold at the auction in the morning will be on your plate as sushi if you stop by Sushi Zanmai for lunch.Read also:How to See the Tuna Auctions at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish MarketTsukiji Fish Market – What To See At The World’s Greatest Fish Market When visiting Tsukiji, you will very likely want to savor the fresh seafood available here. There are many sushi restaurants around Tsukiji Fish Market, but we would like to introduce one establishment that has English menus, as well as an itamae (chef who specializes in some form of Japanese cuisine) who can interact with customers in English. In this article, we will introduce the flagship location of the sushi chain restaurant Sushi Zanmai.What Makes the Sushi in Tsukiji Special?
The large baths that Kutsurogi-no-Sato Yuraku boasts are the “Iwa-no-Yu” (Rock Bath) and “Hinoki-no-Yu” (Japanese Cypress Bath).Men can use the “Iwa-no-Yu” and women the “Hinoki-no-Yu” on the odd number days of the month, and vise-versa on the even days. If you have the chance, you should go twice to enjoy both.”Iwa-no-Yu”This is an indoor rock-made onsen. The touch of the rock surface is nice, and the bath itself is roomy and bright.These are baths called “Tenzan” and “Rakuzan”. The hot water wells up from 1050 meters underground.”Shigaraki” (Tsuboyu: Vase Bath) is a bath in a shape you wouldn’t find in a typical home.”Hinoki-no-Yu”This is a large open-air outdoor bath. You can smell the scent of the Japanese cypress with the rising steam.Duck BathLastly, we’ll be introducing the very popular Duck Bath. The Duck Bath’s official name is “Ahiru Yokochō Omatsuri Buro” (Duck Alley Festival Bath).As you can see, countless plastic yellow ducks are floating in the water. You can relax in the onsen while you let the adorable ducks sooth your soul.These floating ducks are popular bath toys or bathing partners that almost everyone is familiar with. The Duck Bath can be found in the “Hinoki-no-Yu”.Food and Drinks Are Also AvailableYou can also enjoy a nice meal after your bath. The menu includes Japanese food, western foods and also Chinese food. There are special seasonal menus in addition to the regular menu as well.What do you think of enjoying the spacious atmosphere, seasonal dishes and of course the relaxing hot springs here at Kutsurogi-no-Sato?Recommended articlesBathe in a Sand Onsen at Beppu Kaihin Sunaba in OitaPost Earthquake Report: The Beautiful Onsen Town Yufuin, OitaFive Onsen Regions For Japanese-Style RelaxationTry a Japanese Foot Bath in Saga’s Ureshino Onsen… for Free!Renovated 118-Year Old Machiya – Guesthouse Shiro, KanazawaInformationKutsurogi-no-Sato YurakuAddress: Osaka, Suminoe, Kitakagaya 3-5-37Hours: 10:00-26:00 (Last admission 25:00)Closed: Irregular holidaysWi-Fi: YesCredit cards: -Other Languages: -Menus in Other Languages: -Nearest station: Kitakagaya station (北加賀屋駅) of Osaka Municipal Subway Yotsubashi Line (大阪市営地下鉄四ツ橋線)Access: 7-minute walk from Kitakagaya stationPrice range: Adults 700 yen (weekdays) 750 yen (weekends and holidays) / Children 300 yen (weekdays) 350 yen (weekends and holidays)Phone Number: +81-6-4702-4126Website: Kutsurogi-no-Sato Yuraku (Japanese) There are many unique bathing facilities throughout Japan, from historical hot springs to local public baths.Today we’ll be introducing a curious onsen in Osaka, where you can find many yellow rubber ducks floating in the water. Kutsurogi-no-Sato Yuraku is a spot for both the kids and adults.Kutsurogi-no-Sato YurakuKutsurogi-no-Sato Yuraku is a natural hot spring in Suminoe, Osaka city; as it is a genuine onsen, the source of the waters is located within the grounds.At the entrance of Kutsurogi-no-Sato Yuraku, there’s a written description of what kinds of onsen are available. It is said the amount of water welling up counts to about 420 liters a minute. They warm the onsen to a suitable temperature and then pour it into the bathtub directly, without diluting it with tap water in the slightest. To find such an onsen facility in the middle of a large city like Osaka is surprising even for Japanese people.”Iwa-no-Yu” and “Hinoki-no-Yu”
To switch to the subway, you have to exit the JR ticket gates. To switch to the Marunouchi Line, use the Marunouchi subway central entrance on B1F.To switch to the Tozai Line, aim for the Marunouchi subway north entrance. Exit the ticket gates and head straight down the underground passageway, and in about seven minutes you will arrive at Otemachi Station on the Tozai Line. We have to warn you that there is no Tokyo Station on the Tozai Line. When transferring from JR Tokyo Station to the Tozai Line, remember that you should use Otemachi Station.How Should I Go to Narita Airport? By Train? By Bus? For first-time visitors, and even for international residents of Japan, the first confrontation with the gargantuan Tokyo Station can feel quite daunting. The station’s size is such that just walking from the shinkansen platform to the platform for the trains bound for Tokyo Disney Resort will take over twenty minutes. The Access Narita bus, also bound for the airport, departs from the Yaesu south exit. Both buses take about an hour to reach Narita. For more information, check out our Keisei Bus Airport Shuttle article. If you take the train, ride the Narita Express to reach the airport in under an hour. The boarding location is underground on the Marunouchi side, just like the Yokosuka and Sobu Lines. There are signs for the Narita Express, so you shouldn’t have to worry about getting lost.Gourmet Food Inside the Station Platforms 14-19 are for the Tokaido shinkansen and Sanyo shinkansen trains. Travelers headed to cities in western Japan like Osaka, Kyoto and Hiroshima will board at these platforms. The small Uniqlo branch inside the ticket gates is your landmark for the passageway to the Keiyo Line, which heads to Disney. As the Keiyo Line was constructed relatively recently, it is located far away from many of the other station platforms, on the B5F level. Head straight down the passageway before Uniqlo and go down several floors to reach the Keiyo Line platform.Tokyo Disney Resort (Tokyo Disneyland/Disney Sea) is a 15 minute ride away at Maihama Station. Read also On the Marunouchi exit side, which is on the east side of the station, you will find the multipurpose commercial complexes KITTE and the Maru Building, and a direct connection to the Tokyo Station Hotel. This exit is convenient if you want to go to the Otemachi area or to the Imperial Palace.The repairs to the roof and interior of Tokyo Station’s Marunouchi building, which were damaged during World War II, were finally completed in 2012. The building’s red brick facade has returned to its original beauty. The Tokyo Station Hotel is housed in the Marunouchi building, and had its post-renovation grand opening in the same year. Situated opposite the station’s Marunouchi exit, this is KITTE. A multipurpose commercial complex opened by Japan Post, the stores here stock Western apparel and foodstuffs as well as general goods and accessories with a Japanese flair. There are also restaurants where patrons can enjoy traditional Japanese dishes and regional cuisine.For more information, check out our KITTE article.Where Can I Board the Shinkansen? Tokyo Station is a nexus for travelers heading to every part of Japan, either via regular train or via shinkansen. Moreover, the interior of the station and the connecting facilities are home to a bounty of shops that stock rare items. Use this guide to Tokyo Station to find your way effectively.Distinguish Between Train Lines by the Color and Shape of their Symbols Remember the Yaesu and Marunouchi exits and you should be fine. The Yaesu exit, located on the west side of the station, is comparatively close to the boarding locations for the shinkansen, and is close to the Daimaru Department Store. For more about the Tokyo Station Daimaru location, check out our Tokyo Station shopping article. Let’s See Tokyo Station From Three Great Free Viewing Spots! People going to Disneyland for the first time might be a bit anxious about how to get to the Keiyo Line, but you’re on the right track if you see the walkway in the photo above, so keep going!Where Can I Switch to the Marunouchi and Tozai Lines? Shinkansen Ticket Reservation: Voyagin> There is a 1000 yen bus from Tokyo Station that goes directly to Narita Airport, and it leaves from the Yaesu exit. The bus stop is diagonally across from the Daimaru department store. The simplest way to avoid getting lost in Tokyo Station is to look at the color of your train line. As long as you know the name and color of the train line you need to take, all you have to do is follow the signs. JR lines, which you can switch to from inside the station, are indicated by white rectangles on signs. The Marunouchi and Tozai subway lines, which are outside the ticket gates, are indicated by circles on yellow signs.The color code for train lines is as follows.・Yamanote Line – yellow-green・Chuo Line – orange・Keihin Tohoku Line – light blue・Tokaido Main Line – deep orange・Yokosuka Line/Sobu Line Rapid Service – blue・Keiyo Line – red・Musashino Line – redRemember the Two Main Exits Where Do I Board the Train for Disneyland? The underground shopping mall beneath the Yaesu exit, the Tokyo Station Ichiban-gai, is home to plenty of souvenir shops as well as the Tokyo Character Street, with merchandise featuring many famous characters from anime and manga. For more on the Street, check out our Tokyo Character Street article. Platforms 20-23 are for the Tohoku, Yamagata, Akita, Hokkaido, Joetsu and Hokuriku Shinkansen trains. People headed to the ski slopes at Yuzawa in Niigata Prefecture or Kami-Kochi in Nagano Prefecture will board at these platforms. While shinkansen trains run routes to every region in Japan, there is no direct shinkansen to Kyushu, so you’ll have to make a transfer en route. Tokyo Station – The City’s Central Transportation Hub Read also There are many delicious restaurants inside the station, and Tokyo Ramen Street is home to a collection of famous ramen shops from around Japan. We particularly recommend Rokurinsha and Ikaruga, two spots where you’ll definitely need to join a queue. Read our Tokyo Ramen Street article for more. On Keiyo Street inside JR Tokyo Station, you can find vegan-friendly ramen at T’s Tantan, with noodles made using zero animal products. The kitchen uses the natural flavors of vegetables and fruit to create an addictively spicy, sweet broth which is very refreshing. The chewy noodles are made with Japanese flour and no eggs, and form a delicious pairing with the broth. For more information, check out our T’s Tantan article.Navigate Efficiently through Tokyo Station!Hopefully reading this article has made the massive Tokyo Station somewhat less intimidating. For travelers riding the Shinkansen trains, going to Disneyland, or shopping around Tokyo Station – remember the tips we gave you to navigate effectively in the station and enjoy your trip to the fullest! Tokyo Station View Informationsubway_stationtrain_stationtransit_station Platforms 14 through 23 at Tokyo Station are for all shinkansen trains. Internet Cafes And Luggage Storage Around Tokyo Station Shinkansen – How To Buy Bullet Train Tickets TRAINIART TOKYO – Find Great Train Souvenirs At Tokyo Station Gransta
Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has selected global IT provider SITA to support the modernization of the country’s biggest airports, implementing a sweeping transformation of airport and communication technology across 26 airports. The new implementation marks another major milestone in the decade-long partnership between GACA and SITA.The new technology is vital to improving the overall passenger experience while preparing the airports for an expected surge in passenger numbers over the next few years. Passenger traffic across all Saudi airports climbed to 92-million in 2017, a 7.7% increase compared with the previous year.H.E. Abdulhakim bin Muhammad Al-Tamimi, President of GACA, said: “GACA has mapped out a clear future for Saudi airports, enabling us to meet our continued passenger growth while maintaining the world’s best airport facilities. We recognized that SITA was best suited to support this transformation. They have worked closely with us to implement our requirements for each airport and provide the right solution.”As part of the technology upgrade, SITA is implementing its AirportConnect® Open platform which allows airlines to work seamlessly at airports using common facilities while delivering a smooth self-service experience from check-in to boarding. AirportConnect Open provides future-proof infrastructure which will enable the implementation of cutting-edge solutions such as biometric single-token travel and common-use payment systems. It is also supported by the introduction of new Wide Area Network (WAN) and Local Area Network (LAN) connectivity across all airports.In addition, SITA is providing GACA with a state-of-the-art baggage management solution in line with industry standards, enabling GACA airports to meet the baggage tracking requirements of IATA’s Resolution 753. SITA will help airlines track and capture baggage data at check-in, loading onto the aircraft, transfer and on arrival.At the same time, SITA’s Airport Management solution and Flight Information Display System is being deployed in Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport, providing real-time information critical in helping GACA proactively manage their resources across the airport. This will also empower the operations teams to plan for events before they happen, while ensuring that they have the right people and equipment in place at all times. The Airport Management solution is being rolled out in an additional 21 GACA airports before the end of the year.SITA has also introduced Airport iValidate gates at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport and Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport. iValidate is a traveler document authentication system that enhances security and accelerates passenger processing by automatically verifying all types of boarding passes, including mobile boarding and home-printed passes.Eng. Suleiman Al Bassam, Vice President for Information Technology & Telecommunications at GACA, said: “Our investment in new technology underpins the development of smart airport infrastructure across Saudi Arabia and is an important part in realizing GACA’s long-term strategy of improving the passenger experience across its airport network. It also supports the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030, which includes the development of our national airport and wider aviation infrastructure.”Hani El-Assaad, SITA President, Middle East, India and Africa said: “Time and again we have seen how technology can transform an airport, improving the flow of passengers through the airport and therefore elevating the whole airport experience. Our solutions will help GACA reap the full benefit of the tremendous growth they have experienced across all Saudi Arabian airports in the past few years.”About SITASITA is the communications and IT solution provider that transforms air travel through technology for airlines, at airports and on aircraft. The company’s portfolio covers everything from managed global communications and infrastructure services, to eAircraft, passenger management, baggage, self-service, airport and border management solutions. Owned 100% by more than 400 air transport industry members, SITA has a unique understanding of its needs and places a strong emphasis on technology innovation.Nearly every airline and airport in the world does business with SITA and its border management solutions are used by more than 30 governments. With a presence at more than 1,000 airports around the world and a customer service team of 2,000+ staff, SITA delivers unmatched service to more than 2,800 customers in more than 200 countries.In 2017, SITA had consolidated revenues of US$1.6 billion. SITA’s subsidiaries and joint ventures include SITAONAIR, CHAMP Cargosystems and Aviareto. For further information, go to www.sita.aeroFor further information, go to www.sita.aero
Depending on where you sit in the conversation – or indeed where your satellites sit in orbit – providing inflight connectivity over polar routes is either darn near essential or not necessary at all. For Viasat, which is presently building out a not-quite-global GEO constellation, polar coverage is becoming increasingly important. And it knows it stands to benefit from being able to make the ‘fully global’ claim in aviation.That’s among the many reasons why it is seeking approval for an NGSO network featuring 24 MEO satellites with Ka- and V-band frequencies, and putting resources behind it, as management expressed on the company’s recent earnings conference call (during which it also announced a meaningful follow-on IFC deal with American Airlines).But during an interview with Runway Girl Network, Viasat VP commercial mobility Don Buchman said the satellite operator and inflight ISP is studying all its options “very hard” for going global, not just its own proposed MEO constellation which would be integrated with its GEO network.Would Viasat consider packaging its current broadband connectivity offerings with Iridium NEXT, for instance? Even though NEXT will provide a kiteline-sort of connectivity in terms of bandwidth, it is among the multitude of services being studied, confirms Buchman, noting that Viasat already goes to market today with Ka, Ku, and hybrid Ku/Ka for coverage purposes, even though it doesn’t see Ku as offering the same experience as its high-capacity Ka offering.A technology provider to SES Networks’ O3b today – and set to a provide the phased array flat panel antenna for the forthcoming O3b mPOWER system – Viasat is on record saying the two firms may work more closely together. But partnering with O3b mPOWER for IFC still wouldn’t solve the polar puzzle. “Last I’ve seen I haven’t seen polar from [them]; they could always change and put polar beams, but I haven’t seen that yet,” says Buchman, noting, however, “They might have [MEO] coverage that’s useful.”With Telesat, OneWeb, SpaceX and others tabling constellation plans, and even Boeing eyeing the skies for a massive LEO network (which SpaceNews reports has stagnated), space will get a whole lot more crowded if even a couple of these networks come to full fruition.Buchman says Viasat has “no expectation” of a timeline for when the FCC will approve its own NGSO proposal, saying the firm is “just really studying it” to make sure its go-to-market strategy is right.It’s all still in play; if we find the right collaboration partner, [we] would entertain that.On the MEO/GEO antenna development front, Viasat is not very far down the road, with Buchman saying the firm is, as ever, open to either building its own in-house solution or finding alternatives if there is something viable on offer elsewhere.Meanwhile, Viasat continues to focus on building out its GEO network. The antenna malfunction on ViaSat-2 will not impact the firm’s aero plans, Viasat reiterates to RGN. “Yeah, it really hasn’t affected anything we’re doing in aero,” says Buchman.The first two satellites for the ViaSat-3 constellation are under construction, with a 2020 launch date slated for the Americas and “six months later” the launch of the EMEA satellite. Viasat expects to share more information about its progress in the near future.That’s obviously good news for #PaxEx. But on that front, Viasat doesn’t want us to box it into just being considered an inflight broadband connectivity provider. Its American Airlines deal includes wireless IFE. And with Delta not-so-quietly testing Gogo TV, Viasat’s Buchman reminds us that IPTV “is definitely square in the middle of our messaging; we did it [via seatback integration with PAC] on Virgin America; it had 18 channels that were on the Viasat fleet under the Virgin America banner”.The TV service, operated over Ka satellites domestically is “still an offering” for would-be airline customers, and “it doesn’t need to be 100 channels” because these days it’s all about having “the right channels”, he says. Viasat is “getting a lot of interest as well from over-the-top providers, similar to how Amazon and Netflix wanted to get their products [on board].” Sling TV with CNN over Ka anyone?Viasat’s snapshot of the coverage footprints for its proposed NGSO constellation – each satellite would use dynamically steered beams. Satellites would continuously reuse the Ka-Band and V-Band FSS spectrum within their coverage areas. Image: ViasatRelated Articles:Viasat will continue to challenge EAN despite recent Inmarsat winAmerican Airlines picks Viasat inflight Internet for 100 new A321neosDelta quietly testing Gogo TV; seeks to exceed direct broadcast productSES eyes inflight model where application dictates connectivity pipeAmerican Airlines picks Viasat inflight Internet for 100 new A321neosVirgin America plans IPTV seatback integration with Ka connectivityPress Release: SES selects terminal partners for O3b mPOWER
The data breach at Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong Dragon Airlines, which exposed the sensitive personal and financial details of up to 9.4 million customers, is certainly not the first and probably won’t be the last such event in commercial aviation. The likelihood of further hacks raises alarms about the adequacy of airlines’ data security practices, and their handling of events when they happen.Closely following Cathay’s disclosure this week, British Airways updated the number of customers affected by the data breach it announced in September. Working with specialists, cyber forensic investigators, and the UK’s National Crime Agency, BA’s follow-up investigation led the carrier to notify a further 77,000 customers that their payment cards may have been compromised, including the CVV code, and 108,000 customers without the CVV code.“The potentially impacted customers were those only making reward bookings between April 21 and July 28, 2018, and who used a payment card,” the airline stated. BA also said that, of the previous 380,000 customer payment card details announced, only 244,000 were affected. The airline added that there have been no verified cases of fraud.The types of data exposed in the Cathay breach includes passenger names, nationalities, dates of birth, contact details, passport numbers and other identity document numbers, frequent flyer program membership numbers; as well as customer service remarks and historical travel information. Cathay also said that 403 expired credit card numbers were accessed and 27 credit card numbers were accessed, with no CVV.But it is perhaps the airline’s failure to notify customers in a timely manner that is most worrying. Cathay first discovered the breach in March and confirmed it in May of this year. Though Cathay’s CEO, Rupert Hogg, followed the lead of BA CEO Alex Cruz by issuing an apology to customers this week, there hasn’t been a clear statement on why Cathay waited so long to make the breach public. CEO’s message to our customers. pic.twitter.com/qfrKIj2ZFG— Cathay Pacific Data Security Event (@CxInfosec) October 25, 2018 Airlines sit on a wealth of identity and financial data which makes them attractive targets for these exploits, but they have a duty to care for the information that customers entrust to them and to be transparent on how it is handled.“I think it’s the duty of any organization who manages data to make sure that they have the highest level of security compliance and that they are supporting each other,” Rob Sinclair Barnes, strategic marketing director, airline, at Amadeus tells the Runway Girl Network. “It comes down to accountability of every single company.”Amadeus has ongoing security compliance training for staff with twice-yearly “bootcamps” that cover sensitive matters of data security and best practices. “Every one of our employees is data security compliance trained and they have to go through rigorous process training twice a year. Everyone has to achieve a standard of data compliance, or they have to go back to boot camp and retrain. Only once they passed it can they then be allowed back in to access our system,” says Sinclair.Amadeus also extends security training to its customers with regular forums and workshops and by keeping customers informed of the latest threats in the marketplace, as well as educated about the regulations that impact the use and storage of data—such as the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).There are other factors besides hacking to worry about.“Data security isn’t just about cyber security. It is also about security in the building,” adds Sinclair. “Some people are trying to get access to buildings – trying to get in as cleaners, etc – to access computers that are not properly password protected. Data breach is not just about data but about how people are trying to infiltrate and penetrate buildings from all sides – it continuous throughout.”IATA, ACI and ICAO have all raised alarms about cyberthreats to aviation, are collaborating on solutions, and have called on governments to provide a stronger security framework.“Personally, I don’t think there is enough visibility about this,” says Sinclair. “I believe it is a big threat and something that we are underestimating as a global environment. From that point of view, any government should support all businesses – small and large – in terms how to make best use of data compliance and at the same time protect international breaches.”Related Articles:Air transport sector faces daily barrage of attacks from cybercriminalsGDPR compliance and infosec top of mind as Thales personalizes IFECMembers of Air Charter Association see spike in cybercrimeCyber security in aviation: The woman who saw the tsunami comingVIDEO: Satcom Guru on cyber security, EFB and sneakernet concernsPilot group calls for rethink to aviation cyber security approachAerospace focuses more funding on cybersecurity in face of threatsFAA to establish aircraft cyber security working groupMitigating cyber threats on the roadBoeing urges airlines to be vigilant of cyber security threatsEpisode 007: Seat Safety and Cyber Security
A group of significant players in the aviation industry are cooperating to form a new alliance in the field of aircraft modification. As leading companies in the retrofit industry, EAD Aerospace, Envoy Aerospace, Etihad Airways Engineering and Lufthansa Technik have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to form the Independent Aircraft Modifier Alliance (IAMA).IAMA aims to encourage aircraft owners and operators to modify and modernise their fleets through high quality equipment and rigorous inspections, irrespective of which IAMA members provide the engineering services.Aircraft modifications, such as the installation of new cabins, connectivity solutions or avionics systems can be approved and documented through a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) offered by providers such as the IAMA members. The alliance addresses customer concerns with regard to documentation, data availability and a worldwide customer support network across different regulatory systems with Zvarious national authorities.The main objectives of the Independent Aircraft Modifier Alliance are to agree to common standards for the documentation and quality of Supplemental Type Certificates, to establish an open, secure documentation platform for airline customers and aircraft owners using STCs, and to inform the relevant public and expert communities about the advantages of STC approved solutions.Bernhard Randerath, Vice President Design, Engineering and Innovation of Etihad Airways Engineering said: “This alliance is a positive step towards addressing the challenges that customers face with STC solutions today. As the Middle East’s largest MRO, we use OEM solutions, however, Etihad is renowned for innovation and applying our own STC modifications. We believe that OEMs will also benefit from becoming members of IAMA, which is open to all modification providers.”“Our customers need seamless solutions and efficient support during implementation and most importantly service afterwards. STCs are a fast, cost efficient way to provide modifications, and IAMA is a promising approach to address the critical points of documentation simplicity and continued after-sales support.”Thomas Rueckert, Head of Base Maintenance and Aircraft Modification at Lufthansa Technik, said: “We enable aircraft operators to decide objectively and independently on the best possible modification solution for their fleet – regardless of a specific provider. Safety, flexibility of solutions for implementation of customer requests, along with speed and efficiency are at the heart of our activities.”“In addition, value retention and reliable life cycle support are essential factors for aircraft operators and owners. IAMA jointly develop transparent standards that will help our customers make the right decisions,” adds Andreas Gherman, Head of the Design Organisation at Lufthansa Technik.Patrick Gindre, Sales Director of EAD Aerospace says: “The aftermarket modifier ecosystem needed a “home” to discuss our challenges, best practices and to improve our services by delivering a common message to the market. Together, we have the objective to shape the future of the STC in the aviation world”.Romain Mbwang Seppoh, Head of Airworthiness at EAD Aerospace adds: “The retro fit market has specific challenges to be handled with customers and operators in terms of organisation and mandatory exchange of data. IAMA will be a collaborative and knowledgeable reference and voice to regulators and standardisation committees regarding how STCs efficiently fulfil these obligations. Being in the heart of the activity, IAMA tackle those challenges daily. The alliance will foster proportionate and adapted regulations, and jointly develop and provide the optimal tools to its members.”“We are excited to be a part of IAMA,” said Adrian Honer, partner and ODA Lead Administrator at Envoy Aerospace, LLC. “The affiliation will provide our members with a significant voice to resolve issues that affect retrofit certification approvals. Our involvement in IAMA reflects our commitment to our customers, present and future, to be a leader in retrofit aircraft certification quality.”Marilyn Feigl, partner and ODA Administrator at Envoy Aerospace adds: “Retrofit modifications on aircraft have unique challenges. IAMA will offer its members mentorship and counselling to deal with these challenges, especially when dealing with regulatory agencies and the industry at large. This will help raise the certification standards to ensure the highest quality STC products.”The launch meeting of the IAMA is scheduled for spring 2019. The Independent Aircraft Modifier Alliance is open to all market participants including aircraft manufacturers, airlines, suppliers and lessors. Founding members of the alliance believe that a strong and transparent retrofit market will benefit everyone. Members of the alliance work together to offer a transparent, distinct and independent market for aircraft retrofits, providing greater choice for operators and added value for the aviation industry.
Cliff Hollis, ECU News ServicesThings are heating up in Farmville, N.C. There, East Carolina University has helped transform a gas station into a glass blowing studio that’s open to the public. “It’s totally amazing,” says Dean of the ECU College of Fine Arts and Communication Dr. Chris Buddo. “To me, this is about the power of art to really transform a region.”Buddo and colleagues teamed with The Farmville Group, a volunteer economic development association, to make the project happen. In a play on its former life, the studio is called GlasStation. Along with hosting glass blowing classes and open studio hours every week for undergraduate and graduate students in the college of fine arts (the university is about 15 miles east), the space hosts free demonstrations and classes for the public. This month, you can make a glass candy bowl, a glass garden ball, or a glass paperweight in one of the two-hour classes. The studio is also available for professional artists to rent. “Any and everybody can come learn to blow glass,” Buddo says.This new hand-blown glass curriculum at ECU is the only one in the UNC system, he says; the public studio is one of only a small handful in the region. “From Raleigh, Farmville is really only a hop, skip, and a jump.” –J.A.Public classes are offered this month and throughout the summer; $100; ecu.edu/cs-cfac/soad/GlasStation.cfm